Lampung (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Villages, Development of Disadvantaged Regions, and Transmigration has lauded Lampung, Central Sulawesi, and Bali as provinces with the most progress in a smart village programme.

"Nationally, the provinces where the smart village has the most progress are Lampung, Central Sulawesi, and Bali," the ministry's Head of Information and Development Agency Ivanovich Agusta said during his visit to Hanura Smart Village in Pesawaran here on Thursday.

He noted that at present, some 56,000 out of 75,265 villages nationwide have 4G internet access.

"Meanwhile, there are 2,600 villages without internet access, and there are only 21,000 villages with village websites," the official added.

Agusta said that the prerequisites of a smart village are internet access, a village website, and village-made application software.

Meanwhile, he underscored one of the challenges that impede a village's development as a smart village, which is the cost of the internet, as occurred in several villages on Java Island.

"Commonly, the subscription fee of a fast server for a village is Rp15-20 million (US$1,008-1,034) annually. However, some villages have no funds (to pay for it)," the official explained.

To address the issue, the ministry is committed to providing internet server facilities for villages free of charge, he said.

"If villages use the ministry's server machine, applications made by the village will lag less. It is free of charge because it is provided by the government," Agusta said.

He said that the lack of marketing support for village-made applications is another challenge that might hinder the development of smart villages.

"It is good that there are innovations in villages, yet the number of (village-made application) downloads compared with the village population is hugely disproportionate. Hence, they need marketing support," he noted.

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Translator: Anita Permata D, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
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